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Pillowell is situated on the South Eastern edge of the Forest of Dean above Lydney and can be found on OS sheet SO at grid reference 6206 and 6207. It lies between the villages of Yorkley and Whitecroft, roughly where the cross is on the map above. With Yorkley and Whitecroft it forms an almost continuous development between Viney Hill and Bream.
Pillowell has developed in two ribbons, along a ridge between the Kidnalls (6205) and Yorkley, and down the valley formed between Yorkley Hill and Rudge Hill (6307). The blue border around Pillowell and Yorkley on the map is in fact the boundary of the statutory Forest of Dean.
A good description of Pillowell and it's relationship to Whitecroft and Yorkley is contained in the local plan Local Plan Page for Whitecroft and Pillowell.
As a large scale settlement Pillowell has not been around very long. The village evolved as the miners settled as close as possible to the pits they worked in.
The road along the ridge to the Kidnalls was the route to the Norchard colliery located outside Lydney. Main Road, from Yorkley to Bream, was a late addition. The majority of the houses were built in the mid and late 19th and early 20th century as the miners located themselves as near to the colliery as possible. Eventually the working face was under Yorkley and the miners had a 4 mile walk, 2 to the shaft and then 2 miles to the face. A shaft was sunk at the Yorkley end in time and the walk was reduced.
The 1881 census shows the majority of the household heads in Pillowell were associated with the mines in one way or another. Quarries and the woodland provided other work though a large number of the household heads were unemployed.
By the end of the 19th Century there was a thriving community in Pillowell with a Methodist Chapel, shops and pubs.
The area has always been subject to the vagaries of the coalmines and was badly hit when the last mines shutdown.
The Swan is now up for sale.
The Forestry business has been affected by the import of cheap timber mainly from the Baltic states and even that does not supply the employment it once did.
The village has a thriving silver band that regularly plays at local pubs and events. The band provides the focal point for the village carnival held the first Saturday in September.
Some more information on the band can be found at this web site.
Pillowell School is located towards the bottom of Pillowell to the South West. It is typical of the old style schools in the forest.
This picture is supposedly of Pillowell School children and staff, dated to the late 19th century it is very faded and the only identification is a note to the rear.
The Saturday of the first weekend of every September Pillowell holds it's annual carnival and fete. The fete takes place on the recreation ground.
The band also hold a fete in the Spring on Captains Green.
Finally, twice a year the Methodist Chapel hold a car boot sale, bric-a-brac sale and auction at the Memorial Hall in Yorkley. This is normally well advertised and well attended.
Not a lot to do in Pillowell, but a good place to live.
There is a 30 mph speed limit through the village. They closed the motorway before it opened.